Unfortunately for Betamax, the abandoned video storage format was not just abandoned, but was also doomed to become a symbol of all unsuccessful technology. Now whenever a piece of technology fails it goes the ‘way of the Betamax’. Just as the dodo has randomly become the front-man for all extinct animals…
Right now we live in a time when there are countless new technologies appearing every few minutes. The question is which of these we will be Betamaxes, and which of these will be the new VHS – the successful champion that succeeded where the Betamax failed?
The Tech: Google Glass and Other AR Headsets
What It Is: Google Glass is a pair of glasses that can display a range of information overlayed on top of whatever you’re looking at. It takes voice commands and can also be controlled through taps and gestures on the side its body. This then allows you to film what you’re seeing, to take video calls while walking, to do quick Google searches and to see directions on the road in front of you. It’s real hands-free computing and in the future we might even be able to see details about a person or product by looking at them.
But there are problems with this particular solution. For one it looks goofy which is going to prevent a lot of people from wanting to use it. Then there are privacy issues (people have already been thrown out of cinemas for having them on) and there are problems in terms of the functionality too – such as the fact that it doesn’t have its own internet connection or a very long battery life. Augmented reality will be big in the future, but there’s a chance this isn’t the form it will take…
Betamax or VHS?: Possible Betamax…
The Tech: The Oculus Rift and Other VR Headsets
What It Is: Another thing you wear on your head, only this time it’s the ‘Oculus Rift’ which is basically a virtual reality headset that immerses you in a 3D virtual environment complete with head-tracking and low-latency. The development kit is already available (and is very popular), but newer versions promise even better specs and features.
The initial vision for the Rift was as a piece of gaming hardware. Since then though it has grown tremendously and is now being considered for a million different uses in education, business, communication and more. In other news, the company was bought by Facebook and both Samsung and Sony announced they were creating competing devices. This one looks as though it’s here to stay!
Betamax or VHS?: VHS
The Tech: 3D Printing
What It Is: 3D printing has been around for a while now but has been a little slow to take off in a big way at least commercially. This is a piece of technology that allows any 3D object to be printed out in a range of materials, from plastics, to metals, to china even. Industrially this is used for far more impressive feats too: including such things as printing out whole satellites and computers. Woah.
Will it catch on at home? Almost certainly. The main issue up until now has been price point and that’s finally started coming down meaning. Combine it with a <a href=”http://www.artec3d.com/”>3D scanner</a> and you have some incredible possibilities – you could even use it to repair damaged ornaments!
Betamax or VHS?: VHS
There are many more technologies around the corner that are going to have to pass this test, from flexible screens, to motion gaming (the jury is still out on that one). It’s fascinating to watch and what makes it most interesting is the fact that we hold the power to decide. It’s in your hands, which tech do you deem worthy?